Skip to main content

Kawauchi 6th on Stage at Saitama Ekiden With Post-Injury Cold

http://headlines.yahoo.co.jp/hl?a=20150201-00000514-sanspo-spo
http://www.sponichi.co.jp/sports/news/2015/02/01/kiji/K20150201009732430.html

translated and edited by Brett Larner

Things are tough all over for the civil servant runner.  2014 Asian Games marathon bronze medalist Yuki Kawauchi (27, Saitama Pref. Gov't) ran the 82nd edition of the six-stage, 42.195 km Saitama Ekiden on Feb. 1.  Running its longest stage, the 12.1 km Third Stage, Kawauchi clocked 3:15 slower than his own course record, timed at 39:28 for 6th on the stage but still advancing the Saitama Prefectural Government team from 12th to 9th.

Kawauchi sat out last weekend's Okumusashi Ekiden to let the ankle he sprained late last year heal.  The pain from the sprain has dissipated to "minor discomfort," but although the wind was strong in Saitama, more than any lingering discomfort in his ankle this time he was set back by coming down with a cold on Jan. 28.  "I've been sleeping nine hours a night but have a cough and runny nose," he said.  After finishing the Third Stage he could be seen coughing violently and ashen-faced.  "I've only been jogging for the last month and have lost a lot of speed, so my breathing was labored even in the first half.  I was getting dragged along by high school students," he said.  "It was a really tough race, but I knew that without me the Saitama team wouldn't have been able to get the tasuki all the way from the start to finish so I gave them the best running I could."  After Kawauchi's run the Saitama team slipped back to 12th by the end of the race, but both that and its final time of 2:23:11 were improvements over last year's 2:27:13 18th-place finish.

Although he is not in perfect condition, Kawauchi is not considering changing his upcoming race plans.  He intends to run both the Feb. 8 Nobeoka Nishi Nippon Marathon and the Feb. 15 Kochi Ryoma Marathon, his first time doing back-to-back full marathons.  "The problem is that I've lost fitness because I haven't been able to train properly," he said.  "I could fake the distance today, but you can't fake the distance in a full marathon.  I want to use Nobeoka to get back into shape and then really go for it in Kochi.  If I can get back to a certain level then we'll see what happens.  Today was good speed practice.  I think the benefits will follow."

Kawauchi is sitting out the selection races for this August's Beijing World Championships, setting as his main goal for the year winning December's Fukuoka International Marathon to earn a place on the team for next year's Rio de Janiero Olympics.  "My goal there is to win, period.  Up to now I've been focused on time, saying I'm going to run 2:07 and then not doing it.  I'm never going to run 2:02 or 2:03, but I can still learn better racing, to be stronger in the competition."  The main reason he sat out the World Championships selection races was to focus on honing his competitive abilities by racing internationally as much as possible.  "Looking at the other races," he said, "if you're that happy to be the top Japanese finisher I wonder whether you can really be competitive at the international level.  There is a lot of pressure on you once you make a Japanese national team.  In terms of a result it's nice if you're the best Japanese, but I want to go in with a higher mindset than that."

Comments

Most-Read This Week

Kawauchi Brothers Repeat Father's Day Okinoshima Ultra Sweep

For the second year in a row brothers Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref. Gov't) and Yoshiki Kawauchi (unattached) returned to their late father's home island of Okinoshima to dominate the Father's Day Okinoshima Ultramarathon 50 km and 100 km.

Yoshiki, the younger of the two, ran the 100 km for the third time. In his 2015 debut he suffered mightily on the way in to an 11:21:52 finish. Returning with a year's more experience in 2016, he won in a course record 7:20:31. This time he was out fast in search of his first sub-7 clocking, averaging 4:00/km at 40 km through the hilliest part of the course before starting to slow. At 60 km he was still on track for a sub-7, splitting 4:07:10, but when he hit the series of three >100 m elevation gain climbs just after 60 km sub-7 slipped out of reach. Still well under course pace with a 7:12:27 projection at 80 km Yoshiki struggled on the last 100 m climb just over 5 km from the finish, coming in for the win in 7:29:06. Yoshiki has…

Japanese National Track and Field Championships Preview

The 101st edition of Japan's National Track and Field Championships takes place Friday through Sunday at Osaka's Yanmar Stadium Nagai. It's a strange time in some ways. Despite the overall upward trend spurred on by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the count of athletes who might make the London World Championships off their performances at Nationals is low. The marathon, walks, combined events and relays aside, based on current qualifying times only the men's 100 m, women's 5000 m and women's 10000 m could field full three-member squads, and not many events look set to join that list. The progress over the last few years in men's distance on the track seems to have stalled, with nobody qualified for London in the 5000 m and the only man qualified in the 10000 m already a scratch. Is it a just a hiccup or a sign of problems in the buildup to 2020?

Visit the JAAF's National Track and Field Championships website for entry and start lists, live results, photos an…

Ageo City Half Marathon Leads Weekend Action - Preview

by Brett Larner

Rainy weather lies ahead for a busy weekend of racing across the country.  Track is a part of the calender from April through December, and this weekend features several large time trial meets including the Shizuoka Long Distance Time Trials Meet and, closer to Tokyo, the Nittai University Time Trials Meet.  Men's 5000 m is the focus at Nittai with 37 separate heats in one day, the fastest heat led by 12 Japan-based Africans including Bedan Karoki (DeNA RC), Ronald Kwemoi (Team Komori Corp.) and Paul Kuira (Team Konica Minolta).

The main action this weekend, however, happens on the roads, and there's no question that the Ageo City Half Marathon is the main event.  Ageo, the race that university coaches use to thin their rosters ahead of deciding their lineups for January's Hakone Ekiden, is one of two Japanese half marathons vying for the title of world's greatest half, locked in a duel with March's National University Half Marathon to produce the d…